by Rusty Ellis
It was old-school physical football on display in Lafayette on Friday, as Macon County took down Smith County 6-3 in overtime.
Macon opened the game with a lengthy first drive that took almost six minutes off the clock, as Eli Gammon got the scoring started with a field goal at the 6:03 mark of the first quarter.
It took Smith until the final drive of the first half to answer, as a Javy Gaspar field goal as time expired sent the game to halftime with a 3-3 score.
The Owls dominated the time of possession in the second half, and a lengthy drive in the fourth quarter saw them get the ball down to the Macon two, but back-to-back penalties pushed Smith back to the 23. After gaining eight yards, Gaspar’s potential game-winning field goal attempt was wide-right with 37 seconds to go.
The Tigers put together one last attempt to end the game in regulation, as Gabe Borders broke loose to the second-level of the defense and just about ended the game as time expired, but Clayton Rigsby dragged him down to send the game to overtime.
Macon took possession first, and after failing to get a first down, the Tigers settled for another Gammon field goal to put themselves up 6-3.
Smith drove down to the Tigers’ five-yard line and appeared ready to settle for the game-tying field goal, but a Macon County offsides penalty pushed the ball to the two-yard line and head coach Matt Dyer elected to go for the win.
It didn’t pay off for the Owls however, as Zach Borders picked off the Riley Martin pass to seal the 6-3 win for Macon County.
On a night where his team didn’t have their best offensive performance, head coach Kyle Shoulders raved about the overall effort of the team in getting over the finish line.
“Good football teams find a way to win ugly football games,” Shoulders said. “Our guys answered the call and answered the adversity tonight, and that just shows a lot of characters out of our guys. What about that defensive effort, no touchdowns allowed. (Eli Gammon) comes in here and hits two big field goals after missing one last week…that’s pretty special.”
Borders’ interception is a rewarding moment for both player and coach, as Shoulders says all the hard work and dedication Borders has put in to make it to this point showed in the game’s biggest play.
“Nobody deserves it more than (Borders),” Shoulders said. “This is my dude…he’s had a good time getting to this point, he’s worked his tail off. He’s the hardest working dude on this football team and he comes up with the pick at the end. That’s pretty special. We talk about the football gods all the time. Do things right, the football gods take care of you.”
Macon will continue region play next week when they head to Cumberland County, and while this is a fun one for Shoulders and his team to celebrate, he’s always quick about moving on and building wins on top of each other.
One thing he’s always got confidence in is his team’s effort level, and Shoulders fully expects that to continue.
“These guys pour a lot of time and effort into a weekly schedule for us to prepare for a game,” Shoulders said. “Our goal each week is to check each goal off, and the first box is effort. The effort has never been in question. We might not check off the penalty box or the turnover box, but effort will give you a chance in any football team.”
Smith County will also jump back into region play next week, as they host Trousdale County.